Mr. Lorry, as he travels on the mail train in chapter three of the book, is never quite asleep. Dickens states that the bumping of the coach is always, to a certain extent, with him; he is aware of its bumpings and swayings. However, he does have a sort of half-dream, what Dickens calls "a current of impression," which is obviously connected to the fact of what he is doing and the anxieties that are laying upon him at this moment.
The drift of his "fancy" is that he is going to dig someone up out of a grave. He is not sure who exactly it is that he will be digging up, but he sees various impressions of a person—always a man of about forty-five years of age who has been buried, he says, for nearly eighteen years and has since given up all hope of being dug up. The "spectre" reacts differently when Lorry asks him, in the dream, whether he wants to come up and see "her." Sometimes he says yes; sometimes he doesn't understand who is being spoken about; and sometimes he says no—it would kill him. The creature is then dug up out of its grave. The refrain that the person has been buried "for eighteen years" is repeated throughout the dream.